Vietnamese woman brings new life to village of alcoholics
A woman saves the life of alcoholics in Dak Pao Village, Son Mau Commune, Son Tay District, Quang Ngai Province. Alcohol used to be their barrier to poverty reduction in the village.
Dinh Thi Hang, chairwoman of Son Mau Commune Women’s Union, is this woman. She helped locals fight against alcohol “ghost” in Dak Pao mountainous village.
Village of alcoholics
The path from the heart of Son Mau Commune to Dak Pao Village is as charming as a painting in the cool weather. Hills stretch to the horizon while local farmers are in the fields.
Dak Pao is home to Ca Dong ethnic people.
Hang said that several years ago, it was common to see drunken men lying next to their motorbikes on the streets in Dak Pao.
“Ca Dong people often drink, but in Dak Pao, they drink too much. They drink until they get drunk and fall.
“Their health may not be good enough to work with the drinking habit. The number of alcoholic men was higher than the number of working men,” said Hang.
Of course, the poverty in the village was the result of drinking.
Figures showed this fact. The village had 50 households but half of them were poor.
Every home had alcoholics. In some families, both the wife and husband were drinkers.
As their kids were not taken care of, teachers and the local government were forced to step in.
Hang said people called it the alcohol “ghost” village instead of Dak Pao.
Dak Pao is half-hidden in Truong Son Dong Forest, where the real torments were caused by alcoholic drinks.
Domestic violence was among them. Drunken men lost their minds and beat their wives and children.
When the husband could drink, his wife also drank. They drank despite their poverty.
“Although officials came to advise them, they deeply abused alcohol, causing domestic violence. The broken-hearted scene I witnessed was kids having cold meals while their parents got drunk,” Hang shared.
Fighting against alcohol “ghost”
Son Tay is the poorest area in Vietnam. Poverty reduction and education are going to be key targets in the next few years.
However, its economy has improved in recent years.
In June 2019, Son Mua Commune People’s Committee and Party Committee hosted a meeting on local economic development.
Hang attended the meeting and proposed getting rid of alcohol drinking in Dak Pao, which was the best way to help the village escape poverty.
The Son Mau Commune authorities totally agreed with her.
|Dinh Thi Hang (right) talks to Dinh Thi Vum, whose husband used to be an alcoholic. Photo: Tran Mai / Tuoi Tre|
Years ago, villagers chose alcohol rather than their job. Officials even saw them getting drunk in the afternoon although they had just advised them to give it up in the morning.
Hang proposed her plan “Women say no to alcohol drinks” and conducted the plan in Dak Pao first.
“I think that women are easily approached as they may be too tired of drunken men in their family,” said Hang.
Hang knew that it was such a difficult journey but villagers could not get rid of poverty if they continued drinking.
The Son Tay Commune Women’s Union set up a team to oversee villagers.
Her plan finally got the initial rosy results. More and more villagers gave up drinking and returned to their fields.
“Those getting back to farming work become a mirror of others,” shared Hang.
A new life in Dak Pao
Dinh Van Ton and his wife Dinh Thu Muoi both used to be alcoholics. They now have a better life thanks to Hang’s team.
The couple was punished many times because of getting drunk as they had committed legally themselves to giving up drinking before.
When they got sober, the couple realized that they received a lot of punishment records.
Since then, they stayed away from drinking and their mental health was better, too.
Currently, to earn their living, Muoi collects wattle tree bark while her husband collects coffee beans in the Central Highlands.
“I feel better since I stopped drinking. So does my husband. We now try to work to make a living,” Muoi said with a smile.
Like the couple, Dinh Thi Vum’s husband used to be an alcoholic. When he got drunk, he beat his wife Vum.
She could not stand him and even walked 20 kilometers in a forest to return to her parent’s home with her kids.
Hang and her team had to advise Vum and her husband. Fortunately, the husband realized his mistake and apologized to Vum. He also promised to stop drinking.
“My family got better thanks to Hang. We now have enough money to build a new house,” said Vum.
The family of Dinh Thi Nhieu also got a good result when giving up drinking.
“I feel happy since I stopped drinking. My kids now study better,” Nhieu said.
Dak Pao currently has only 15 poor households. Many local students have passed the university entrance exams.
The fight against alcohol further expanded
After three years, Hang’s plan to fight against drinking in Dak Pao has been successful.
Ca Dong ethnic people cannot totally stop drinking, but at least there is no scene of people drinking and falling on the streets.
According to Dinh Van Lia, chairman of Son Mau Commune People’s Committee, the plan helps raise awareness about drinking and it is going to be conducted in the other three villages in the commune.
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Playground by Google equips children with cyber self-protection skills
HÀ NỘI — Children can learn how to protect themselves and embrace cyber civility though diverse interactive activities taking place at the Children’s Palace in Hà Nội.
The activities are among the Online Safety Playground event organised by Google on the occasion of International Children’s Day (June 1), aiming to raise awareness and enhance knowledge on self-protection and courtesy in the online environment for children and parents.
As summer comes, children have more time to go online. According to a survey by the Department of Children’s Affairs (Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs) in 2022, Vietnamese children are spending 5-7 hours a day on social networks. Vietnamese children must be equipped with essential skills and knowledge on selecting healthy, age-appropriate information for themselves. Moreover, parents in Viet Nam have become more concerned about their children’s online safety, and 64.1 per cent of parents have sought to improve their technological knowledge in order to teach their children about this topic, according to a survey by Google in 2023.
Understanding the practical needs of Vietnamese families, a discussion has been organised at the Online Safety Playground event to provide parents with comprehensive information on the topic of online safety for children. Featuring the family of the movie producer Lý Hải – Minh Hà, educational experts, and a Google representative, the discussion focused on improving parents’ skills and equipping them with knowledge about Internet safety, so that they are capable of guiding their children to effectively experience the online environment, especially in the summer when children spend more time on the Internet.
Alongside the discussion targeting parents, at the event, an interactive playground for children has also been introduced with many fun games, providing them with knowledge, while building up their self-protection skills and online courtesy.
This is also the first time educational games from the “Be Internet Awesome – Safer with Google” project have been deployed offline, helping children learn five fundamental rules: Be Smart – Be Alert – Be Strong – Be Kind – Be Brave while playing familiar games online.
At the same time, parents can experience many helpful content management applications such as YouTube Kids, YouTube Family Link, and YouTube SupeX. They will learn how to direct their children toward healthy content, and set restrictions to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content.
“Through the Online Safety Playground playground, Google and YouTube are committed to continuing to expand the programme to more schools, teachers, and students this year, thereby helping more children gain great benefits from the Internet in a safer space,” said Marc Woo, Managing Director for Việt Nam, Google APAC. — VNS
Sơn La festival promotes local tourism and ethnic culture
SƠN LA — Hundreds of artists staged a stunning performance to open the Sơn La Province’s Tourism and Cultural Festival on Saturday night at the Mộc Châu National Tourism Area in the northern mountainous province.
Standing vice-chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Trần Thanh Mẫn, former standing vice-chairwoman of the NA, Tòng Thị Phóng, Chairman of the NA’s Ethnic Council Y Thanh Hà Niê K’đăm, and Sơn La Provincial Party Secretary Nguyễn Hữu Đông, participated in the event.
Themed “The World’s Leading Regional Nature Destination”, the festival is an opportunity to connect cultural-tourism products, promote tourism development, attract investment in tourism, and simultaneously create distinctive tourism products.
Speaking to open the festival, the Chairman of the Sơn La Provincial People’s Committee, Hoàng Quốc Khánh, said that the festival is not only to create a new development step for Sơn La’s tourism economy but also to strengthen the cooperation between the province and other localities in Việt Nam and other countries.
“This is also an opportunity for businesses in the tourism industry to improve their product quality associated with conserving and promoting cultural identities,” he said. “The distinctive, professional, and attractive tourism products can magnet domestic and international tourists.”
The festival features an interesting agenda of diversified activities presenting unique local ethnic culture. Those include the plum harvesting festival in Mộc Châu District, home to the best plums in Việt Nam.
An off-road motor race in Vân Hồ District and a photo contest are also on the festival agenda. Festival-goers can learn about the rich culture of various ethnic groups living in the province through the display presenting traditional costumes and typical architecture or through a fair showcasing ethnic gastronomy and handicraft products made by ethnic people.
“Through their own experience at the festival, visitors will have an impression of special unique tourism products that present the ethnic identity of Sơn La Province as well as the warm hospitality of Sơn La people,” Chairman Khánh said. “They can also realise the transformation and development of the province, being a great place to visit.”
Also at the opening ceremony on Saturday, founder and president of the World Travel Awards, Graham Cooke, has given a trophy to honour Mộc Châu-Vân Hồ in Sơn La as “The World’s Leading Regional Natural Destination” in 2022. — VNS
A memorable summer with fireworks and fun festivals in Đà Nẵng
ĐÀ NẴNG Colourful fireworks performances at the Đà Nẵng International Fireworks Festival (DIFF), together with numerous cultural festivals at Bà Nà Hills, promise to offer tourists an unforgettable summer.
Magic of fireworks
The vibrant summer days in the coastal city of Đà Nẵng will begin with the return of DIFF 2023.
Taking place from June 2 to July 8 by the Hàn River, the event will feature stunning fireworks performances by international teams, including the UK, Italy, Poland, France, Australia, Canada, Finland and the host team Đà Nẵng.
Through five nights with five different themes: “Peace for Humanity”, “Love without Borders”, “Conquering Dreams”, “Dance of Nature”, and “World without Distance”, the fireworks performances will send the audience a special note honouring the recovery of world tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the festival, the night sky in Đà Nẵng will turn out to be a perfect backdrop for beautiful paintings created by colourful and splendid fireworks performances.
The Polish team will showcase the Firework Dragon, while the British team will stage the Light Up The World presenting the human resilience to overcome the global pandemic.
The host Việt Nam has prepared an extremely elaborate light show with the theme Đà Nẵng – Peaceful Timbre, Canada and France will amaze spectators with Northern Lights and Colours of Hope, while Italy and Australia will offer a feast of light and music.
Festivals at Bà Nà Hills
Alongside DIFF 2023, this summer, at Sun World Bà Nà Hills, tourists can enjoy several festivals, which are among a series of events called Bà Nà WOW Festival – Wonderland without Distance.
The best culture and art of different countries in the world will all be presented at the wonderland of Bà Nà. The bustling atmosphere of the German Oktoberfest will be recreated, offering tourists a chance to enjoy one of the biggest festivals in the world, where festival-goers can sip 20 different kinds of beer while enjoying famous cuisine.
During June, fans of Hallyu or Korean Wave will be able to “live their passion” with the Korean Cultural Festival. Trendy K-pop songs, exciting dances, popular dishes, and several traditional Korean games, will be presented at Bà Nà.
On June 3, Vietnamese celebrity singer Hồ Ngọc Hà will have her concert Love Songs – Love Vietnam, which is expected to be a special entertainment event for music lovers.
In July, visiting Bà Nà, any tourist who is in love with French culture and French wine, will be delighted with a series of activities honouring French culture, of which the celebration of “100 Years of Bà Nà Wine Cellar” will be a highlight.
Besides, tourism-magnet hotspots such as Golden Bridge, Moon Castle, and the French Village, promise to enhance the excitement of tourists visiting Bà Nà.
Specialities of ‘kimchi land’
Coming to Đà Nẵng this summer, alongside the DIFF 2023, guests can also enjoy a full agenda of impressive activities at Asia Park.
A hotspot for young people, the ongoing “M-Pack Festival & Carnival Street Food” features a beer and soju [a Korean alcoholic drink made from rice or sweet potatoes] festival, K-pop dance, and food carnival.
DJ parties will be held every Saturday with the performance of popular DJs. In addition, art shows presenting Vietnamese traditional art forms, and K-pop concerts will be taking place monthly until September 20.
If tourists want to fly high into the clouds and enjoy the Đà Nẵng City landscape from a bird’s-eye view, they should take a hot air balloon flight available for the first time at Asia Park.
Especially, Asia Park provides a special offer for pupils and students with all-in-one tickets for only VNĐ120,000. With this ticket, junior visitors can enjoy all the outdoor games and a ride on the Sun Wheel to contemplate the panorama of Đà Nẵng City from above. They can also enjoy puppet shows by guest artists from the Huế Theatre.
Shows across the city
The DIFF 2023 will not only light up the Hàn River but also bring the hectic atmosphere to every popular sightseeing spot across the city with numerous art and cultural shows.
During June, the Street Music and Magic programme will take place in Southern Park on the west bank of the Dragon Bridge.
Different kinds of Vietnamese traditional music will be presented every Saturday and Sunday night during June and July on the east bank of the Dragon Bridge, on Trần Hưng Đạo Road.
Exhibitions displaying antique ceramic objects, and traditional Japanese dolls are taking place at the Đà Nẵng Museum and the Đà Nẵng Museum of Fine Arts, respectively.
The photo exhibition The Colourful Conversation of Two Rivers at the APEC Park is another suggestion for visiting tourists. VNS
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